Dear Single Dads: Get Used to the Weird Looks From Strangers
Nothing can prepare you for being a single dad with daughters. I’m constantly caught off-guard in new situations where I have no idea how to react or what to do. How do you use the restroom in a public place without leaving your daughter alone? What do you do when your daughter is crying in public and you’re trying to console her? Get ready for a whole lot of unfamiliar territory!
Let me make one thing clear to all the new single dads out there who have daughters. You’re going to get weird looks from strangers. It’s going to happen, and you can’t stop it from happening. You’re going to be embarrassed and unsure of how to react, and there will be times when you’re sure you might die from the implied shame. Sorry, but it’s true. It’s going to happen to you. My advice?
It’s easy to get embarrassed. You’re going to feel awkward. Embrace it! Recognize that people are going to give you weird looks no matter what, and just focus on being a dad.
Is your daughter making a scene in public, causing you to look like a mean dad or a creepy stranger? Make a scene right back at her. Let her cry her big crocodile tears while you lament the end of the world. Strangers are going to state, so why not give them a little chuckle while they do?
Have to stand awkwardly outside a public restroom while your daughter is inside? Throw on some sunglasses and do your best secret service impression, escorting the little first lady in and waiting diligently for her to come back out. So what if passersby give you a second glance—what are you supposed to do?
The important thing to remember is that all these people who will give you funny looks or stare at you while you’re trying to parent don’t understand your situation. They have no idea what it’s like being a single dad with a daughter. The people who laugh with you and smile? Those are parents who know exactly what you’re up against, and who have been in similar (or more embarrassing) situations before.
The life of a parent is an endless string of embarrassments. Whether your daughter is five or 15-years-old, she’s going to get you into situations that you just have no idea how to navigate. It’s okay, you’ll learn. Millions of dads out there have faced the same trial by fire, and they’ve all done it under the judging eyes and weird looks of other people. Consider it the test that truly marks you a dad.
One more time for the dads in the back: you can’t avoid the strange looks and stares people are going to give you. Don’t even try. Instead, focus on being a dad. Give your daughter what she needs and stand your ground where you need to. Who cares if you’re being judged? What matters is that you’re doing right by your daughter—weird stares be damned.